Mortgage rates today, Feb. 17, and rate forecast for next week

February 17, 2024 - 5 min read

Today’s mortgage rates

Average mortgage rates climbed appreciably yesterday, taking them to their highest level in a couple of months. Two different inflation reports were behind last week’s damage.

Mortgage rates might move a little lower next week. That is more of a hope than an expectation. And I’m basing it on nothing more than that little is scheduled for the next seven days, and markets might decide they went too far on Friday. Such delayed reactions happen quite often after sharp movements.

Markets are closed next Monday for the Presidents' Day holiday. And this should mean mortgage rates won't move that day. So, the usual daily edition of this report won't appear.

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Current mortgage and refinance rates

ProgramMortgage RateAPR*Change
Conventional 30-year fixed
Conventional 30-year fixed 7.29% 7.337% -0.02
Conventional 15-year fixed
Conventional 15-year fixed 6.717% 6.787% -0.05
30-year fixed FHA
30-year fixed FHA 7.067% 7.115% Unchanged
5/1 ARM Conventional
5/1 ARM Conventional 6.693% 8.061% +0.03
Conventional 20-year fixed
Conventional 20-year fixed 7.131% 7.186% -0.07
Conventional 10-year fixed
Conventional 10-year fixed 6.584% 6.656% -0.08
30-year fixed VA
30-year fixed VA 7.327% 7.369% +0.04
Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions See our rate assumptions here.
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Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

I think there is a strong possibility that this week’s poor inflation reports have delayed my hoped-for downward trend in mortgage rates. And we now may have to wait for it to fully establish itself until May, June or even later.

This is beyond disappointing and means I’ve changed my personal rate lock recommendations to:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • LOCK if closing in 45 days
  • LOCK if closing in 60 days

However, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So let your gut and your own tolerance for risk help guide you.

What’s moving current mortgage rates

This week

Both this week’s consequential inflation reports showed prices rising more quickly than markets were expecting. And mortgage rates moved higher in response.

That was partly because the bond investors who largely determine mortgage rates hate inflation. But it’s also because markets know that higher prices are likely to delay the Federal Reserve’s first cut in general interest rates and may mean fewer subsequent cuts this year.

Mortgage rates probably won’t move lower in a sustained way until Wall Street is confident that the Fed is set to cut general interest rates imminently. And we may well now have to wait until the summer for that level of confidence.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that mortgage rates will fall at all this year. But I think improvements in the second half of this year are currently the most likely scenario for 2024.

Economic reports next week

We’ve had enough excitement recently and are due a dull week. And, sure enough, we’re about to get one.

The only day on which reports are likely to move mortgage rates is Thursday. And that’s just a couple of February purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) from S&P.

PMIs certainly can affect mortgage rates, though rarely appreciably. And I’ll be shocked if next week’s reports more than tweak them.

The only other reports next week are leading economic indicators on Tuesday, and initial weekly jobless claims and existing home sales, both on Thursday. Again, the market that determines mortgage rates typically shrugs these off.

The Fed next week

The Fed is scheduled to release the minutes of the last meeting of its rate-setting committee next Wednesday afternoon. We already know a lot of what was said from the news conference that was hosted by Fed Chair Jerome Powell immediately after the meeting. And much has changed since then, meaning the minutes have already been overtaken by events.

But investors always pore over these minutes in the hope of gleaning some new insights. And mortgage rates may move if they find anything actionable. I doubt they will, but let’s hope that anything they do uncover pushes those rates lower.

Seven senior Fed officials have speaking engagements next week. And their remarks have the potential to affect mortgage rates.

Whether their speeches are good or bad for those rates will depend on what they say. Ideally, we’d like most of them to talk up a May cut in general interest rates. But that may be wishful thinking.

Besides economic reports and Fed activity, our best hope for lower mortgage rates over the next seven days is a calming in market sentiment. I’m hoping investors will reflect on the current position and feel they overreacted to last week’s inflation reports. Such bounce downs are common after sharp rises but far from inevitable.

Economic reports next week

See above for details about the more important economic reports next week.

In the following list of next week’s reports, only those in bold typically have the potential to affect mortgage rates appreciably. The others probably won’t have much impact unless they contain shockingly good or bad data.

  • Monday — Markets closed for Presidents’ Day holiday
  • Tuesday — January leading economic indicators
  • Wednesday — Fed minutes
  • Thursday — February PMIs for the services and manufacturing sectors from S&P. Also January existing home sales. Plus initial jobless claims for the week ending Feb. 17
  • Friday — Nothing scheduled

We’re in for a quiet week for economic reports. But mortgage rates could still move on any day except Monday.

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Mortgage rates forecast for next week

Mortgage rates might edge lower next week. I think the chances of that are better than further rises. But only slightly better. So, don’t bank on anything.

How your mortgage interest rate is determined

A bond market generally determines mortgage and refinance rates. It’s the one where trading in mortgage-backed securities takes place.

And that’s highly dependent on the economy. So mortgage rates tend to be high when things are going well and low when the economy’s in trouble. But inflation rates can undermine those tendencies.

Your part

But you play a big part in determining your own mortgage rate in five ways. And you can affect it significantly by:

  1. Shopping around for your best mortgage rate — They vary widely from lender to lender
  2. Boosting your credit score — Even a small bump can make a big difference to your rate and payments
  3. Saving the biggest down payment you can — Lenders like you to have real skin in this game
  4. Keeping your other borrowing modest — The lower your other monthly commitments, the bigger the mortgage you can afford
  5. Choosing your mortgage carefully — Are you better off with a conventional, conforming, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo or another loan?

Time spent getting these ducks in a row can see you winning lower rates.

Remember, they’re not just a mortgage rate

Be sure to count all your forthcoming homeownership costs when you’re working out how big a mortgage you can afford. So, focus on something called you “PITI.” That stands for:

  • Principal — Pays down the amount you borrowed
  • Interest — The price of borrowing
  • Taxes — Specifically property taxes
  • Insurance — Specifically homeowners insurance

Our mortgage calculator can help with these.

Depending on your type of mortgage and the size of your down payment, you may have to pay mortgage insurance, too. And that can easily run into three figures every month.

But there are other potential costs. So, you’ll have to pay homeowners association dues if you choose to live somewhere with an HOA. And, wherever you live, you should expect repairs and maintenance costs. There’s no landlord to call when things go wrong!

Finally, you’ll find it hard to forget closing costs. You can see those reflected in the annual percentage rate (APR) that lenders will quote you. Because that effectively spreads them out over your loan’s term, making that rate higher than your straight mortgage rate.

But you may be able to get help with those closing costs and your down payment, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Read:

Down payment assistance programs in every state for 2023

Mortgage rate methodology

The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.